Detection of Borrelia burgdorferi by nested polymerase chain reaction in cerebrospinal fluid and urine of children with neuroborreliosis

Eur J Pediatr. 1993 May;152(5):414-7. doi: 10.1007/BF01955900.


Diagnosis of neuroborreliosis is often difficult since history and clinical presentation may be non-specific and serological tests may initially be negative. We therefore tested the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection of borrelial sequences in CSF and urine samples of consecutive children with neuroborreliosis seen in a single summer season. Four of eight children were negative in serum for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi. Two of eight children were PCR-positive in CSF and one other child was positive in urine. In two out of four children PCR was the only laboratory test confirming the clinical diagnosis. All children recovered after treatment with third generation cephalosporins. When seven of eight children were re-examined 6 months later all were healthy and antibodies to B. burgdorferi were detected in their serum. PCR may assist the paediatrician in establishing a diagnosis of neuroborreliosis; however, a negative result does not rule out neuroborreliosis. PCR is an adjunct, but no substitute for clinical judgement and serology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Base Sequence
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / genetics
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / isolation & purification*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Disease / urine
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction*